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Rapper Biz Markie Passes at 57.



Beloved rapper Marcel Theo Hall, famously known as American rapper Biz Markie, passed away July 16, 2021. He was fifty-seven years young. 

Biz Markie

Biz Markie was born April 8, 1964 , in Harlem, New York. In his early life, Markie was a member of The Juice Crew. Founded in the 1980s, The Juice Crew was a large hip-hop collective that hosted an array of artists, including Markie. The group under radio DJ Mr. Magic’s Cold Chillin’ label helped introduce new school rap and engaged in “answer records” which addressed certain “beef” between rappers. 

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Biz Markie’s representative left the public with a note confirming his death.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, Hip Hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away,” his representative said in a statement. “We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time. Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years.”

Biz Markie then delved into The Flip Squad, a hip-hop group created in 1995. The group, which was organized by disc jockey and rapper Funkmaster Flex, was home to many DJs including Biz Markie. The group was responsible for their 1998 album titled The Flip Squad All-Star DJs.

Biz Markie was struggling with his health before his passing and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2011.

His passing was a result of a stroke that followed him succumbing to a diabetic coma. 

Despite his health struggles, Biz Markie was serious about maintaining his health. 

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Getty Images | Johnny Nunez/Getty Images. From left, Biz Markie in Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 13, 2009, and in New York, May 19, 2014.

“I wanted to live,” …  “Since I have to be a diabetic, If I didn’t make the changes, it was going to make the diabetes worse. I’m trying to get off [diabetes medications]. The way you gotta do it is lose the weight. I’m off half my meds, I just got to get off the rest.” Biz Markie even reportedly loss 140 pounds in his dedication to his health. (ABC News, 2014.)

Markie was well-loved by his fans and family alike; he was described as quirky, vibrant, a pioneer, and outgoing. He found his place in everyone’s hearts through his musical antics which landed him a spot in rap as well as mainstream music, and as a platinum artist selling over 2 million copies of his most popular song “Just a Friend.”

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Biz Markie held multiple professions. He was a rapper, DJ, record producer, actor, comedian, and writer. Markie is also considered a singer, despite his bad singing voice on his track “Just a Friend.” 

Biz stated in an interview with EW in 2019 on the 30th anniversary of his aforementioned most popular hit: 

A lot of people didn’t like the record at the beginning. They would say, “Biz is trying to sing? Aw, the record is wack.” But I wasn’t supposed to sing the [chorus]. I asked people to sing the part, and nobody showed up at the studio, so I did it myself,”

However, the record gained a lot of positive feedback and press from the masses, and as for his bad singing voice, it can be safe to admit his singing made the song one of the funniest, clever, and unique songs in the rap game. Biz Markie’s background information on Wikipedia even fittingly labels his genre as “comedy hip hop.”

Markie also appeared in plural television shows and films, those of which included classics like “Men in Black II”, and new-age Black television such as “Empire”, and “Black-Ish.”

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As the news was released, many hip hop artists and celebrities paid their respects to the rapper, known as iconic and a legacy by many. 

Rapper and record producer LL Cool J shared his love and condolences on Instagram. He had this to say:

“Love you bro and I want to send love to all your fans, to your family, to your wife, management, and rest in power bro.”

Multi-faceted musician and disc jockey Quest Love shared his love for the artist he says built him as an artist.

“Biz built me man. In my early early stages it was Biz who taught me the REAL places to cop records,” the Roots drummer wrote. “He taught me ALOT. I’m using ALL the education he taught me. We will miss him. But he will be here forever.”

Highly accredited rapper, singer, and songwriter Missy Elliot also shared her appreciation for the late artist.

“I can remember so many times trying to beat box like you until my lips was sore & whenever we saw each other your energy was always so full Life/Love/& Good Vibes. Your impact in the culture is 4EVER & you will NEVER be forgotten.”

Never forgotten indeed. Biz Markie will be missed.

photo recovered from artist Biz Markie in the DJ booth during the EW & CNN “The Eighties” Trivia event at Breakroom 86 in The Line Hotel in Los Angeles in March 2016. (Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Entertainment W)

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